ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Chante Dan missed a scheduled start in the final race here Nov. 2 when her rider booked off late and her trainer, Preston Ferris, was unable to secure a replacement.
“It was frustrating,” said Ferris. “No one would ride her. She was scratched in the paddock. But, it all worked out.”
Ferris, 25, was in a forgiving mood here Sunday morning after Chante Dan delivered the trainer’s first career victory in the final race on Saturday.
Chante Dan, a homebred 4-year-old filly who races for owner Tricia Greer, rallied from off the pace under Steven Bahen to capture the restricted $10,000 claiming race at odds of almost 21-1.
“She can be difficult to work with,” said Ferris. “She’s not easy to get to the frontside.”
Ferris, born in Calgary but raised in Kentucky, has a pure racetrack pedigree.
His father, Alex Ferris, rode for 25 years and recorded more than 800 winners before retiring in the summer of 2003, and his mother, Frances Adams, trained in Kentucky for several years and at Northlands Park last season.
His grandfather, the late Smiley Adams, trained the likes of Master Derby, winner of the 1975 Preakness, and Run Dusty Run, who chased Seattle Slew when second in the 1977 Kentucky Derby, third in the Preakness, and second in the Belmont.
“I graduated high school, but the racetrack is all I’ve been doing since I was a little kid, and it’s all I’m ever going to do,” said Ferris, adding that he has been galloping horses for 11 years since beginning at Keeneland at the tender age of 14.
After spending some time at Hastings Park as an assistant trainer in the spring of 2011, Ferris took out his trainer’s license here that summer. His first charge was a horse named Special Moment, who was owned by Tricia Greer and Mervyn Kirby.
“The owners had asked me to come to the farm and work with the horse, and they liked what I did,” said Ferris. “They’ve been really good clients.”
Ferris currently has three horses here for Greer, with Go Shermin Go and Rhythm of Rock joining Chante Dan in his shed row.
Go Shermin Go, a 2-year-old gelding, has been knocking on the door in his last two starts, both at the maiden $20,000 claiming level, and Rhythm of Rock, a 3-year-old gelding, is coming off an encouraging effort in the $10,000 maiden ranks.
“I’d love for the clientele to come in, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Ferris. “It’s a work in progress.”
Nipissing does her thing
Nipissing was 3 for 3 under her regular rider Steven Bahen, and her four opponents looked to be in deep water here in Sunday’s $125,000 South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.
“I think she was much the best on paper,” said Rachel Halden, who conditions the homebred Nipissing for the Chiefswood Stable of Robert and Mark Krembil. “Steve and I discussed it, and decided he just should ride her like she was the best horse and stay out of trouble. That’s what he did.”
Nipissing did her bit as well, relaxing nicely before moving to the lead and cruising to a four-length victory with her stablemate, the Paul Attard-trained Otonabee, completing a Chiefswood exactor.
The South Ocean was the second straight stakes win for Nipissing, who had captured the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies. The South Ocean win brought her bankroll to $297,180.
“I think she’s done more than enough for us this year,” said Halden. “She deserves a break.”
Nipissing will winter with Halden at Palm Meadows with an eye toward next year’s Woodbine Oaks and possibly the Queen’s Plate.
“With her pedigree, and the way she gallops out so strong, I don’t think distance will be a problem,” said Halden.
Niigon’s Glory eying Kingarvie
Niigon’s Glory, a colt Halden trains for Chiefswood, could make his stakes debut here Dec. 2 in the 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds. Like Nipissing and Otonabee, Niigon’s Glory is by the recently deceased Niigon.
“He’s come back well from his first race,” said Halden, who had sent out Niigon’s Glory to come from off the pace and win a restricted 1 1/16-mile maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths under Bahen here Nov. 11. “He showed a little class that day, coming up inside the way he did.
“He had thrown some decent works, but didn’t show much speed. It’s tough going a mile and a sixteenth first time out. It’s always in your mind; you’re not sure if you’ve done enough with them.”
Blue Heart wins Jammed Lovely
Blue Heart, rallying under a red-hot Luis Contreras, capped off her 2012 campaign here last Saturday with a head victory in the $150,000 Jammed Lovely Stakes.
“I thought it was a really game effort,” said Brian Lynch, who had watched the Jammed Lovely from Churchill Downs where he sent out Any Given Royal to finish a troubled fifth in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf and English Class to end a faltering sixth in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere. “It was a good little field. I love it when she shows up like that.”
Blue Heart, owned by John and Jerry Amerman, had won the 1 1/16-mile Bison City for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies early this summer but was unplaced in two subsequent stakes tries here on the turf.
In the Jammed Lovely, Blue Heart was making her first start in almost three months and returning to the surface on which she has recorded each of her four victories.
“It was her last option for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies,” said Lynch. “It was the ideal spot for her. She’ll go down to Palm Meadows for the winter. Ideally I’d like to give her a freshening. We know she runs good fresh, and we’ll just point her for up here next year.”
Lynch, who still has more than 20 horses here, plans to have at least one more stakes starter with Clearly Now pointing for the 1 1/16-mile Display on Dec. 1.
“I’m looking forward to stretching him out, “ said Lynch, who has sent out the Kentucky-bred Clear Now to win his first two career starts, both at six furlongs for the Up Hill Stable of Lloyd Zenith and Jim and Susan Hill.
Wilson gets three days
Emma-Jayne Wilson has been suspended for three racing days, beginning Wednesday, after the stewards ruled she had veered out with her mount, May Fourteen, and caused interference to Uncle Carm during the stretch run of last Wednesday’s final race.
May Fourteen finished in a dead heat for first with Uncle Carm but was disqualified and placed second.
The stewards have approved Wilson’s request to ride in next Saturday’s Kennedy Road and Sunday’s Bessarabian, so she will serve the final day of her suspension on Wednesday, Nov. 28.